You might think matcha should have wrapped up its moment in the spotlight by now, but instead, matcha has been settling in as a welcome household staple and colonizing tea aisles across the country.
Matcha may have started out in the U.S. as a superfood trend, but it has found a place in our hearts, and pantries, and has become both a popular and timeless ingredient.
Matcha is here to stay, but some may still be wondering, “What is matcha anyway?”
What is matcha?
Matcha is a type of high-quality Japanese green tea, which literally means “powdered tea.” With matcha, you’re drinking the actual leaves that have been ground into a fine powder after being steamed and dried to deepen the flavor. While other types of green tea can be grown in many parts of the world, matcha is unique to Japan and is cultivated in a unique way to trigger the growth of leaves with a better taste and texture.
What are the health benefits of matcha?
Because matcha is made from high-quality tea and the whole leaves are ingested, it’s a more potent source of nutrients than your garden variety steeped green tea. In addition to providing vitamins and minerals, matcha is rich in antioxidants, which have been tied to protection against everything from heart disease and cancer to providing better blood sugar regulation and blood pressure reduction.
Matcha also has more caffeine than regular green tea (but less than coffee) and delivers an invigorating boost of energy with a “calm alertness.” Matcha is known for its astounding ability to give mental clarity and a heightened awareness without the jitters.
What does matcha taste like?
Matcha’s taste is an intricate fusion of fragrance and flavors. Matcha has a velvety texture swirled with a smooth, crisp sweetness, which entertains a delicate balance of bitter and savory notes. Matcha also boasts an herbaceous earthiness with the characteristic “greenness” and vibrancy associated with green tea.
How to use matcha?
Of course you can brew matcha into a simple tea, robust latte, or detoxifying smoothie— but why stop there? Matcha is incredibly versatile and brings the wow factor as it turns everything it touches into a delightful shade of green. From sweet treats to savory sauces to dreamy drinks, it’s time to get creative with matcha! Matcha is perfect for adding that satisfying, sweet earthy flavor to just about any concoction you dream up.
There’s simply no limit to all the ways you should be drinking (and eating) matcha, but here are 8 recipes to get you across the starting line into your foray with matcha:
There is Zen garden-like method to spreading the paper-thin matcha crepe batter around that is almost hypnotic. Join Chef Alberto in his Authentic Taste of Nippon class to learn the art of this traditional cone-shaped Japanese street food, which takes matcha madness to the next level when filling the crepes with matcha ice cream.
The herbal, slightly spiky flavor of matcha and the sweet creamy goodness of ice cream is a match-a made in heaven. Join Chef Renee in her All That and Dim Sum class to see and taste firsthand how well matcha pairs dairy and churn out a beautiful batch of silky, vibrant matcha ice cream.
Old school meets new school in this trusty matcha pound cake recipe. Matcha pound cake has the steadfast sturdiness and moist crumb you expect from a traditional pound, cake, but is laced with the bright herbal infusion of matcha. Join Chef Jordan W. in his Authentic Japanese Feast class to learn how to infuse new life into a basic pound cake.
A classic Italian dessert, the tiramisu, gets a heaven-sent green tea spin by replacing classically used coffee with the magnificence of matcha. This matcha recipe creates alternating layer upon fluffy layer of rich matcha cream and airy matcha sponge cake for a seriously divine dessert.
The herbaceous flavors of chives and tarragon enhance the floral notes of matcha in this scone recipe. Parsley, rosemary, or thyme would make a great substitute for the tarragon, but chives are essential, as their flavor best balances the bitter matcha with the richness of the dairy in these savory matcha scones.
It’s so fresh, so green, and all the flavors of the traditional pesto ingredients just play so nicely with the matcha. This pesto is as versatile as matcha itself. Toss it with pasta, smear it on sandwiches, or serve it with crostini for an appetizer, or treat yourself to a single happy spoonful.
Green curry already boasts a lot of body and strength. But when you let the earthy sweetness of matcha harmonize with the creamy coconut milk and layers of punchy flavors, you get a meal that’s nothing short of hearty, fresh, and satisfying. One of green curry’s virtues is it’s adaptable enough to allow for such variations, so customize away!
Matcha in the morning, matcha at night, matcha all through the day! This lime, mint, matcha combo is a great morning or afternoon pick-me-up as the intensity of the mint and the zingy lime frolic in the grassy flavor of matcha. Add a splash of rum for a bright and refreshing cocktail.
With its smooth taste and amazing health benefits, it is no surprise that matcha is taking the world by storm. Now it’s your time to be part of this fabulous tea culture. Enjoy your days refreshed and invigorated with an infusion of matcha to lift spirits and elevate your everyday cooking.